Future Soldiers of Israel

The Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty recently followed a group of teenage boys in Israel as they prepared to join the Israeli military. With a mandatory three-year military service looming after graduation, young men gear up for the draft, get into shape in privately run training programs, and try to improve their chances of acceptance into elite combat units. (Young Israeli women also serve mandatory military time, though they make up only 3 percent of the country's combat forces.) The teenagers undergo rigorous physical challenges, urban-combat lessons, and assault rifle training, readying themselves for their upcoming rite of passage.

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